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Friday, September 21, 2007

Who Will Be Supreme? Legal Beagles Handicap High Court Opening, Plus: Hit Pieces In City Election Posted Here, And: My Blog Bottom Lines 

Judge Vanzi & Lawyer Daniels
Who will be New Mexico's newest Supreme Court justice? Our legal beagles say the 15 names on the list to be interviewed by a 15 member judicial nominating commission Monday and which will then forward finalists to Big Bill offers no obvious clues. Several of them say the standout names are well-known ABQ criminal defense attorney Charlie Daniels and ABQ District Court Judge Linda Vanzi. Some say chances for an Hispanic appointment by the Guv are dim because there are already three Hispanics on the five member court.

The seat being filled belonged to Justice Pamela Minzner who recently passed away. Will the Guv want to pick a woman to replace her? If so, the three women on the list, including Vanzi and civil rights attorney and former UNM Law School professor Maureen Sanders, are best positioned. With Governor Bill making the appointment, the court is guaranteed to stay all Democratic.

Whoever gets the final nod from the Fourth Floor (sometime in October) will have to get their campaign shoes on right away and start raising money since they'll have to run in a contested election in 2008 if they want a full eight year term. Republicans are expected to field a candidate and some of them are already saying Daniels and Vanzi and their trial lawyer backgrounds are not to their liking. But no R has been elected to the Supreme Court since the 80's, making this power appointment one of the most valuable in La Politica.

ALL TO YOURSELF

Ah, the joys of running unopposed. Take, for example, realtor Trudy Jones running without opposition in ABQ city council District 8. The conservative NE Heights area is sure to turn thumbs down on that proposal to raise councilor pay from about $10,000 a year to nearly $30,000. But Jones tells me she is supporting the pay hike and very likely breaking with her new constituents. She says she personally isn't bothered at serving at the current pay level, but thinks councilor pay should be competitive with that of the Bernalillo County Commission.

Considering she will be breaking out the victory champagne at 7:01 p.m on October 2nd and won't have to stand for re-election until 2011, Jones' position truly reflects the joy of running unopposed.

Not that Trudy isn't getting the word out that she will be a new councilor. She has raised about $35,000 for her unopposed effort and says she will spend it all. "We've sent several mailers out and I am walking door-to-door to introduce myself," said the soon-to-be city solon.

FUN IN THE MUD

How about some weekend entertainment? You've heard about the dirt flying in city council District Four contest between incumbent Brad Winter and Paulette de'Pascal. I've uploaded for you a hit piece mailed against Winter. And here is a Winter piece answering de'Pascal. One thing is for sure--none of this muddy stuff is going to get any voters excited about going to the polls. (A little patience required to download the pieces.)

NORTH VALLEY ACTION

In council District 2, Katherine Martinez, challenger to incumbent Debbie O'Malley, is using the council president's recent successful push for $9 million in special city funding for the county run jail as a campaign issue. She says that money could have been better spent on services in the city, including O'Malley's North Valley district. O'Malley advocated for the extra $9 million for the jail in the face of mayoral opposition. The mayor is openly supporting Martinez.

Meanwhile, O'Malley is telling voters she has been a solid supporter of the police and fire departments. She has held her fire in responding directly to Martinez who mailed a flier this week showing O'Malley shooting arrows at Mayor Marty, but missing her target. Here's a look at the latest O'Malley mail piece.

If the campaigns or readers send in more city election fliers, I will post them for you.

THE BOTTOM LINES

We are now only counting candidates as definitely running for federal office when they file papers with the Federal Election Commission. An emailer asks why we did not include Leland Lehrman of Taos as a third Dem US Senate candidate in our Thursday blog. We didn't because there is no record of him filing with the Feds. If that changes, so will we...

Our KANW 89.1 FM City Election '07 pre-game show kicks off at 5 p.m. October 1st. I'm welcoming back Erik Siemers of the ABQ Tribune and Terry Brunner, state director for Senator Bingaman, who will help analyze the races. We'll tell you more as we get closer. Election Night coverage will start at 6:30 p.m. October 2. We hope you can join us.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2007
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